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Born in Denver
Hi Rich –
I appreciate your perspective. For me this is not a win/loose issue. Perhaps the status quo is OK. I am not anxious to change if whatever is occurring is working. I get the most complaints about dog waste. I recognize that these “waste” concerns are magnified in the spring as the snow melts and 4 to 5 months of waste emerges. It is mind boggling to me that folks do not pick-up after their dog.
Rita Valentine, Spring Creek trails (upper and lower), and Old Fish Creek Road are just a few of the places I have been this spring and the amount of dog waste is disgusting. I am sure that other parks around town experience a similar issue. As the grass begins to grow it will hide piles (old/new) and the grumbles will subside. However, the issue does not.
If all dog owners were responsible there likely would be little need for the ordnances themselves let alone enforcement. Unfortunately, that is not the current situation in Steamboat Springs.
The desired outcome is to get increased compliance with existing ordinances. Compliance can be accomplished a number of ways with varying degrees of effectiveness. With the exception of the excrement issue I think there is some room for discussion and compromise.
As I have stressed with those that have brought this issue repeatedly to my attention, I have no power unless I get three or more other council members to agree with me. At this point in the discussion, I think it would be premature to jump to “solutions” until the problem is well understood.
Therefore, I am going to propose to my fellow council members Tuesday evening that we consider putting this as an item for discussion in a future work session. I believe that in 30 minutes or less we can have a good idea of the scope of the problem both from the public and law enforcement perspectives.
My fellow council members may not consider this time well spent. I am OK with that decision because that is how the process works.
Hi Linda –
I am a dog owner of an exuberant chocolate lab. I recognize that not everyone is as thrilled to see Tobias as he is to see them. I keep him under close wraps when I am in a public area. I diligently pick up after him.
The City of Steamboat Springs currently have a host of ordnances relating to dogs that are often ignored by some dog owners. These owners are not ignorant of the laws – they simply choose to ignore them. When confronted about a violation these same individuals attempt to justify their behavior and that of their dog and occasionally become verbally abusive to the animal control officers who are simply trying to educate and enforce the ordnances as written.
Some would say – why have ordnances on the “books” if they are not enforced rigorously? This is a valid point. Is educating folks one warning or citation at a time working? Is allocating additional resources to increased enforcement the best use of City limited ways and means?
For me this is essentially an issue of personal responsibility and respect for one another. Dog ownership is a privilege not a right. I appreciate that Steamboat Springs received the designation of Dog Town USA. However, not everybody in Dog Town loves our dogs as much as we do. Even those that do some seem to think that they are such a special snowflake it is OK to ignore the laws that are on the books.
I would appreciate other’s point of view about this issue as well as experiences.
(Although I am member of City Council my opinions are my own and may not be those shared by my fellow council members.)
Hi All –
Allow me to share my thought process on this topic.
Do we have a problem with dogs off leash, dogs at large and dog waste? Sometimes and some places I believe we do. Is it the most important thing the City should be working on? Heaven’s no!
I am a dog owner. The issue for me is one of respect. I have the responsibility as a dog owner not to infringe on the rights and enjoyment of others. Not everyone shares this perspective. Just because I am a dog owner does not make me special no matter how special I think my dog is.
The temptation when existing laws are ignored is to quickly look to increased enforcement. Is this effective? The desired outcome is increased compliance. I think educating folks one citation at a time is not very efficient.
My out of the box suggestion was simply an idea to increase compliance. I was never under any great misconception that it would become reality. I try not to be delusional.
I was glad that the Police Chief Cory Christensen shared his perspective. I learn from him. I simply wanted to raise awareness and remind my fellow dog owners to be respectful. We may be “Dog Town USA” but with that title comes some responsibilities.
It was disturbing to hear from Police Chief Cory Christensen how often the City’s animal control officers are subjected to verbal tirades by dog owners when they are told to obey the law. No one deserves to be verbally abused. If folks do not like the City’s dog ordinances – do not take it out on the City’s animal control officers. They should come to City Council and make their case why the law should be changed.
Perhaps having this article helps accomplish some of my desired outcome. The simple fact that a newspaper article was written about this is itself humorous. You got to love this town!
(Although I am a member of City Council my opinions are my own and may not be shared by my fellow council members.)
I understand Steve’s perspective. Property taxes in the State of Colorado because of the Gallagher Amendment place a higher tax burden on commercial vs. residential properties essentially for the same government services.
In 1978 the citizens of Colorado had a mini tax revolt because of increasing residential property taxes. The Gallagher Amendment essentially places 55% of the property tax burden on commercial and 45% on residential. In addition, it “froze” the commercial assessment rate at 29% of market value and it allowed residential assessment rate to “float” to whatever is necessary to achieve the 45/55 split. Back in 1978 the residential assessment rate was 21%.
As of today the assessment rate for residential real property has dropped from 21% to 7.96% to keep the 45% to 55%.split.
All this means is that currently a residential property with a market value of $1 million is assessed at 7.96% or about $80,000 to which the mil levy is applied to achieve the 45% split. In the case of a commercial property with the same market value of $1 million it is assessed at 29% or $290,000 to which the mil levy is applied to achieve the 55% split. Dollar for dollar of market value commercial properties today pay about 4X more in property taxes than residential properties do.
If total residential values proportionally continue to increase faster than commercial property values, the 7.96% assessment rate on residential could go to something even lower to maintain the 45/55 split.
There is no easy fix to this one. It would require the voters in the state of Colorado to approve an increase in the assessment percentage applied to residential market value to re-balance the burden. And, allow the commercial assessment percentage to float so the 45/55 split is reasonably maintained. The reality is that there is not much chance of this happening.
Hi Alvin –
Are you suggesting a discount based on reaching some age milestone? Or, a discount based on loyalty over a number of years? Which would you support the most if you had to pick?
Hi All –
The marijuana regulations in this town are still evolving. It is evolving at the state as well as local level. I am patient with this process. What is in place today will likely look different a few years from now.
City Council is planning on reviewing the existing marijuana regulations in September. This will be a public process. If changes are made this will allow enough time for a revised ordnance to be drafted – modified and formally voted on by City Council (1st and 2nd reading) for the new provisions within the ordnance to likely to be effective January 1st.
I am confident that there will be discussions in September about increasing the number of licenses from three to some other number. I am sure that there will be some discussion regarding allowable locations.
The sticking point for me last night dealt with how is 1,000 foot from a park measured. Simply put, is it walking distance or is it radius. The current regulations do not address how distance is to be measured. This is something that needs to be clarified because details matter.
Within the context of state law/regulations about marijuana, my desired outcome is to eventually have marijuana regulated the same as alcohol. That is where I am heading. The pace toward this desired outcome I recognize is frustrating to some.
Existing marijuana regulations and possible changes is one of the topics I am planning on discussing at the Coffee with Council Member(s) that will be held this coming Friday, April 8th from 7:30 am to 9:00 am in Centennial Hall. I would welcome hearing what you think and suggestions.
(Although I am a member of City Council my opinions are my own and may not be those shared by my fellow members.)
Hi Scott W. –
According to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) in the greater Steamboat Springs area there are about 12,500 housing units, of those units about 5,700 are classified as vacant of which 4,200 are classified as seasonal, recreational, or occasional use.
Hi Jerry –
You bring up a very good point I try not to ever forget. Among some there is the perception that the Visitor (tourist) pays a majority of the City sales taxes (4%) collected. This is not the case and has not been for a decade or more. Using the aggregate of sales tax collected 2008-2015 data (pre/post recovery), including sales tax collected on lodging, the Local vs. Visitor share is about a 60/40 split and growing. Remove lodging (typically the visitors largest expense) from the analysis the split is closer to 70/30.
The major source of the sales tax collected by the City of Steamboat Springs is from the Miscellaneous Retail category. This category accounts for 45%+ of the total. The Locals vs. Visitors share in this category is about 75/25. A major reason for this large split is that sales taxes are collected on groceries. It is relatively easy to make the case that collecting sales tax on groceries is regressive and is a major reason why the state of Colorado and many municipalities and counties do not do it.
Since the Chambers’ request for $100,000 would come out of the City’s general fund, I do not like the alignment of it because the Local population, and the sales tax share that it pays, is bearing the greatest burden. This is essentially the same struggle I have with the .25% sales tax dedicated to the air program. The .25% sales tax was an attempt to democratize the tax – (everybody pays).
Per Jim, “the new group sales program would aim to reduce the "peaks and valleys" of the visitor seasons and attract more groups…”
Not to be misunderstood I understand the need/opportunity a focus conference sales effort is trying to achieve. Without question during the “valleys” there is excess lodging capacity. How much opportunity exist to address the “valley” of the Peaks/Valley Jim Clark references I am going to leave to him to define. The key question before City Council is who should pay for this effort? This should prove to be an interesting discussion on Tuesday evening.
(Although I am a member of City Council, my opinions are my own and may not be those shared by my fellow council members.)
It would appear that the local’s share of marijuana sales within the city limits account for about 80% of total sales annual sales in 2015. From my perspective I would have thought that the visitors share of marijuana sales would have been higher. I am glad we are breaking out marijuana sales out apart from miscellaneous retail.
(Although I am a member of City Council my opinions are my own and may not be those of my fellow council members.)
I read them until they become too goofy. So far so good on the exchange that is occurring. I am still reading. I appreciate the viewpoints.
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